Interesting Find During an Energy Audit

Working as Building Analysts doing Home Performance, we often make interesting discoveries. Some days in the field, you come across something truly unexpected…

After a long struggle with the access panel to a knee-wall area in an old, Victorian home, I was met by the spooky image you see on the right. “Cobwebs” covered every surface and hung in long billowing strands from the rafters.

With the soundtrack in my head playing eerie music, I wondered what was happening in this confined space? No, it hadn’t become the lair for a mutant spider, but good guess!

What looks like the set to a B-grade scary movie, actually turned out to be a decade long lint trap. The family clothes dryer was supposed to vent to the exterior. In reality, it had been sending its lint and hot moist air into the unsuspecting homeowner’s knee wall area for years.

The photos are certainly fantastic, but the underlying issues here are very real building science concerns. The moisture from the dryer will degrade the wood rafters over time. Plus, if that lint were to dry, it would become a very real fire hazard. Luckily for this homeowner, the damage was minimal and the fix relatively easy and inexpensive.

Every home has its secrets. It’s one of the things that make the being a building analyst so interesting. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new and confounding comes along to make you remember that each home is a unique puzzle.

By Alex Haworth, TerraLogos Energy Group

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